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Update 3: PDAS - Summer excavation of St. Richards Dominican Friary, Pontefract

posted 24 Aug 2011, 05:15 by Paul Brayford   [ updated 1 Feb 2016, 15:10 ]
Update from David Wandless, Chair of Pontefract and District Archaeology Society (PontArch), on the excavations being carried out on the site of Pontefract General Infirmary.

We are now nearly half way through our excavation of the north aspect of the Friary site. The dig is really alive with people both experienced, graduates and new members digging for the first time. There is a real positive buzz on the site with everybody really enjoying what is becoming a most interesting dig. Most days we are averaging around 17 diggers. From next week we will be digging from Monday to Saturday and having Sunday as a day of rest.

Janet McNaught and my wife Anne with help from some new members have begun washing our finds in the cottage on Southgate. We have made the big front room and side room available and it is a hive of activity with find trays lined up in rows with a range of medieval pottery, clay pipe stems and bowls as well as metal objects, fragments of floor tiles, ecclesiastical glass and other finds yet to be unravelled!

Simon Tomson our Site Director commented that;

‘Within the rubble we have recovered architectural carved stone, a collonete (small column) section, whitewashed wall stone, stone mouldings (probably from windows)’

In respect of the other finds he commented further saying;

‘We have also found plain and painted window glass, a number of glazed floor tile fragments of both black and white finish. It is tempting to imagine a chequerboard black and white church floor reflecting the black and white habit and cowl worn by the Blackfriars!!’

Picture of fragment of medieval window glass
Medieval painted window glass

‘We have also identified local sandstone and imported limestone roofing slabs, all drilled for fixing pegs.’

Breaking News Today  (Wed 24 Aug 2011) 

As the excavation progresses Simon believes we may well have identified a substantial robbed out wall. Its orientation northward suggests that this may be the north wall of the church. Given its proximity to the back street which is now Southgate this is entirely likely as it gives access for the public to attend friary services.

Picture of visit by Young Archaeologists to the excavation
Young Archaeologists Club site visit

Picture of overall excavation area
The overall extent of the dig which is nearly 30metres in length and 6 metres in width.